Best solar chargers for your Android phone

EcoFlow, Jackery, and Tekpluze battery packs
(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Our yellow sun is what gives Superman his powers, so of course, it can also keep your phone charged while you're on the go! It's almost weird, right? Using nature to keep technology working. Remember that while the sun is very powerful, it will not charge a solar battery bank/charger or your phone as quickly as a wall outlet can. You will have to be patient with these. But, what a beautiful melding of the old and the new! Whether you are camping or are dealing with a power outage, you don't have access to an outlet, then grab a solar power bank and take advantage of the biggest battery Earth has!

Anker 515 Solar Charging Panel

(Image credit: Anker)

Anker 515 Solar Charging Panel

Power from the sun

Reasons to buy

+
Three USB ports to charge from.
+
24W of solar power
+
Small footprint when folded

Reasons to avoid

-
Needs a lot of space when unfolded
-
Could be heavy on long hikes

When you need to power your gadgets but don't want to deal with another battery to get the juice you need, a powerful solar panel is the way to go. Anker makes excellent charging products and the 515 Solar Panel Charger fits in well. This 24W, 3 port USB charger is very thin (1.97 inches folded or 0.16 open) and comes in at just over two pounds.  While it isn't the lightest and most compact charging solar panel, it will be lighter than carrying an extra battery.

The upside to the slightly bulky size of the Anker 515 Solar Panel Charger is that it can gather more sunlight to produce more power than a smaller option can. This solar charger is so efficient that you can charge three devices simultaneously, and it can charge at up to 12W in direct sunlight, making it about as fast as regular chargers under ideal conditions. Without an actual battery, you don't have to wait for the Anker 515 to charge up — just grab it and hit the trails.

BioLite SolarPanel 10+

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

BioLite SolarPanel 10+

Compact and portable power

Reasons to buy

+
Very compact and lightweight
+
Handy built-in stand with a sundial
+
Versatile USB port
+
Durable frame

Reasons to avoid

-
Low power output
-
Only one USB port

BioLite has been making excellent outdoor products that double as charging vessels for years as well as solar accessories. The SolarPanel 10+ is a fantastic way to power up your favorite Android smartphone while away from traditional power. What makes the SolarPanel 10+ different from the Anker 515 is its size and lightweight — perfect for outdoor excursions.

The panel comes in at only 19.36oz and is smaller than a standard piece of paper. Its weight and size mean that you won't be burdened with extra weight while out on a hike. When it comes to power, there is a single USB port that can output up to a maximum of 10W. So this isn't going to get your phone powered up fast, but it is great to keep your phone topped up while on the trail. 

Some of the unique features of the SolarPanel 10+ are the 360-degree stand to prop up the fold-out panel, the built-in 3,200 mAh power bank for times when the sun isn't out and you still need power, and the Optimal Sun System, which acts like a sundial to ensure you are getting the most from the sun. 

Tekpluze 30000mAh solar battery pack

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Tekpluze Solar Battery Pack 30000mAh

Versatile solar power

Reasons to buy

+
High battery capacity
+
Charge via solar or wall outlet
+
Built-in flashlight
+
Wireless charging pad built-in

Reasons to avoid

-
No output via the USB-C port
-
Could be heavy for long hikes

While it is great to keep one of the best portable chargers around for charging on the go, the only way to refill its power bank is with a wall charger. That's where the Tekpluze Solar Battery Pack comes in. Thanks to its built-in solar panel, you'll be able to recharge your battery pack anywhere the sun is shining, as it did when I used it on a recent beach camping trip.

The 5V solar panel can pump out up to 330mAh into the pack when a wall outlet isn't available to recharge it. Aside from powering your devices, there is also an LED flashlight to help you see in the dark. There are two USB-A ports for charging devices as well as a  wireless charging pad. If you do want to use a wall plug to refill your battery pack you can use either a micro USB or USB-C cable to do so. But with 30,000mAh of power, the Tekpluze will have plenty of juice to keep your phone going while on the hike.

Blavor 10000mAh Solar Battery Pack

(Image credit: Blavor)

Blavor 10000mAh Solar Battery Pack

Reasons to buy

+
Compact size
+
Charge devices with USB-A or USB-C ports
+
Bright LED flashlight
+
Multiple recharge options

Reasons to avoid

-
Only 10,000mAh capacity

Like the Tekpluze before it, the Blavor Solar Battery Bank comes with the on-the-go power you need but in a more compact package. However, getting a smaller footprint for the pack comes at the sacrifice of capacity. At 10,000mAh, the size of the cell in the bank isn't small, but depending on your phone you may only get 1-2 full charges.

When you aren't recharging the power bank with the USB-C port, you can take advantage of the sunshine to bring it back to full. As for getting your smartphone back up and running, you'll have a USB-C and USB-A port to pull power from in addition to the wireless charging pad. Blavor also included a dual LED light to help guide you once the sun has gone down.

Jackery Eplorer 300

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Jackery Eplorer 300

Power more

Reasons to buy

+
Good power output
+
Lots of power ports
+
Great battery capacity
+
Compact size

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Too heavy for taking on hikes
-
Solar sold separately

When your situation calls for more power output than a solar panel can provide and you need more capacity than a battery pack, reach for a power station like the Jackery Explorer 300. Not only does this have 295Wh, it offers plenty of port options to provide clean electricity to all of your gadgets. However, coming in at a little over seven pounds, it isn't one you're likely to take hiking with you.

The Jackery Explorer 300 is about more than capacity and ports. It can also kick out up to 300W of power to run all sorts of devices. From Chromebooks like the Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook to cell phones and lights to fans, this power station is ready to go. When it comes to recharging the battery pack, you can refill it using a wall outlet, a vehicle, and of course — solar. While it can be recharged using solar, you'll need to buy the panel separately to take advantage of this clean energy option.

Power wherever you go

Why you can trust Android Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Finding ways to power our favorite electronics by using clean energy is a great way to not only help the planet but make for more enjoyable excursions. When the weight of what you're carrying is at the top of your packing list, taking a solar panel with charging capabilities is a great way to ensure you have portable power without adding too much weight.

The Anker 515 Solar Panel has not only the output but also the ports to get you plenty of power. But its size may not fit with your lightweight goals, so reach for the Goal Zero Nomad 5 to fill that slot. When you need power during light or dark, consider a solar battery pack like the Tekpluze option. Its 30,000mAh capacity and multiple charging port will be ready when you are, thanks to the built-in solar panel to recharge it when the sun comes back out.

Chris Wedel
Senior Editor - Smart Home
Chris Wedel is a fan of all things tech and gadgets. Living in rural Kansas with his wife and two young boys makes finding ways to get and stay online tricky. By utilizing his years of experience with the tech and mobile communications industries — success is assured. When not conquering connectivity challenges and testing new gadgets, he enjoys cruising a gravel road in his UTV with some good tunes.